, Volume 35, Issue 2, pp 423–429 | Cite as

Are Fallacies Vices?

  • Andrew Ball


Why are some arguments fallacious? Since argumentation is an intellectual activity that can be performed better or worse, do we evaluate arguments simply in terms of their content, or does it also make sense to evaluate the arguer in light of the content put forward? From a ‘virtue’ approach, I propose understanding fallacies as having some link with intellectual vice(s). Drawing from recent work by Paul Grice, Linda Zagzebski, Andrew Aberdein, and Douglas Walton, this essay argues that if there is some sense of argumentation where an argument is (1) truth-propagating and not (2) put forward in order to ‘win’, fallacies may be the vicious element in arguments that undermines (1), most often because the arguer’s goal is only (2). From this perspective, fallacies may not only be improper ‘moves’ in an argument, but may also reveal something lacking in the arguer’s intellectual character.


Argumentation Informal logic Virtue Epistemology Fallacy 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Philosophy Department, 2-40 Assiniboia HallUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada

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